EU HRC trades thin out as buyers resist stockpiling on short-term price uncertainty

European hot-rolled coil deals thinned out at the start of the week Feb. 26 as buyers refrained from stockpiling amid a lack of clarity on near-term prices.

“The market is very silent now,” a German service center source said. “Mills are quoting offers but customers are not willing to pay anywhere close to what mills are asking.”

Some market participants expected producers to reduce output in the near term in case demand fails to improve.

In the mean time, buyers focused on back-to-back deals and resisted building inventories anticipating prices to soften further.

While no firm offers or deals were reported for domestic HRC in the Northwest European market, tradable levels were estimated at Eur705-720/mt ex-works Ruhr.

Platts assessed the price of domestic HRC in Northwest Europe stable on the day at Eur715/mt ex-works Ruhr Feb. 26.

Interest in imported HRC remained muted due to longer lead times and uncertainties about volumes that can be allocated under safeguard quotas for Q1 from “other countries.”

Offers were heard from Indian mills in the week that ended Feb. 23 at Eur670-680/mt CNF Antwerp for end-May or early June-arrival cargoes. Turkish mills made offers around Eur700/mt CIF Antwerp, including anti-dumping duties.

No buyer showed interest in these offers.

Platts assessed the price of imported HRC in Northwest Europe stable on the day at Eur650/mt CIF Antwerp Feb. 26.

Author Rituparna